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Clifford used fame to 'bully' girls into sex acts, trial hears

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CHARGES: Publicist Max Clifford arrives at court in London where he faces trial on abuse charges. Photo: Reuters

CHARGES: Publicist Max Clifford arrives at court in London where he faces trial on abuse charges. Photo: Reuters

CHARGES: Publicist Max Clifford arrives at court in London where he faces trial on abuse charges. Photo: Reuters

PR guru Max Clifford thought he was "untouchable" as he used his celebrity connections to "bully and manipulate" girls and young women into sex acts over a 20-year period, a court has heard.

As his trial over a string of alleged indecent assaults got under way yesterday, London's Southwark Crown Court heard that the 70-year-old preyed on girls by boasting about his famous contacts.

Clifford, famed as a celebrity agent, is accused of 11 counts of indecent assault relating to seven alleged victims between 1966 and 1984, all of which he denies.

Opening the case against him, prosecutor Rosina Cottage QC told the jury of six women and six men that the PR consultant treated his office as his own "sexual fiefdom" and "playground", taking "what he wanted when he wanted".

MANIPULATE

Ms Cottage told the court: "The defendant used his contact with famous people to bully and manipulate these young people into sexual acts with him.

"In his actions, we say he breached the trust of parents he had encouraged to trust him and young women working for him or seeking jobs in the world in which he worked."

Clifford, wearing a grey blazer with a white shirt and dark trousers, listened to proceedings from the glass-walled dock using a hearing loop, shaking his head several times as the allegations against him were outlined to the jury.

"Many of you, but not all of you, will have heard of the name Max Clifford. He is wealthy, he is well connected.

"He is the maker of the kiss-and-tell celebrity and the breaker of reputations. He is the man called upon by television to speak about celebrity and media manipulation.

"He has been at the top of the media game for many years. He knows the strings to pull. He knows how to manipulate, lie and get what he wants," Ms Cottage said.

GAMES

"He is a man who likes to play games with people and you will hear evidence of the games that he played with these girls and young women.

"As the years went by, he got away with his behaviour, he must have thought he was untouchable and no doubt thought no one would complain and, if they did, they would not be believed."

She added: "These women were vulnerable to the attentions of a man experienced in taking sexual advantage of their naivety and their willingness to please."

Clifford denies all charges and the case, which will last around six weeks, was adjourned until Monday.

HNEWS@HERALD.IE


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